+ inload: Our Presence Remakes the Past +

'Our Presence Remakes the Past!' The cry thundered from a crowd of enhanced throats, deep and reverberant. In the hall serving as Chapter 333's gathering place, the echoes died out quickly.

It was borrowed, of course. One of the famed Ultramarines' many battle cries, redolent with ten thousand years of history – history that Chapter 333 sorely lacked. Inquisitor Kills had enquired after its provenance during an awkward repast at the Captain's table, which Master Scipius had attended. He had picked politely at the food, and demurred Taiwo's offer of any wine beyond that used for the toasts.

The question had been answered as the Primaris marine answered all her questions – promptly, directly, and with no expansion. It had felt like an interrogation. Kills – and she suspected the other diners too – had been relieved when the warrior had bowed out of the ceremonial meal, thanking his Rogue Trader host with a curt salute.

The marines were too large, too intense, too real for anything like a relaxed atmosphere. Every mouthful of food or drink had been overshadowed by the sheer presence of the warrior. It had been like dining alongside a Cthellan cudbear – scrupulously trained, perhaps, but something in humanity's hindbrain sat uneasily alongside superpredators.

Barbari Kills brought her attention back to the hall. The Chaplain – what was his name? – was deep into the litanies. Smartly turned-out serfs in yellow and green-piped tabards tracked back and forth along the assembled ranks of the Chapter, anointing each warrior with dabs of unguent, or murmuring catechism.

She and her acolytes, Brunski and Halm, had a position of honour, looking out over the Chapter from the side. That their podium was constructed of stacked shipping crates rather took away the glamour, but needs must. Chapter 333's own fleet, such as it was, offered no craft large enough to gather the Chapter, and so Scipius had arranged with Taiwo to utilise one of the Rogue Trader's vessels for such assemblies. Standing at ease, but crisply, the Inquisitor let her eye wander over the Chapter. There was variance – of course there was – but very little. Every figure was decked out in the same armour – row after row of the same smooth helms, the same black, heavy guns. It was a far cry from her time with the Stellar Steeds, whose laughing company seemed to revel in individualism; their plate mixed and endlessly varied.

Halm half-coughed, and Kills looked at her quizzically. Sotto voce, the acolyte murmured a word of encouragement as she handed over the scroll. It was time for the Inquisitor to address the Space Marines. Kills rather enjoyed pomp and ceremony, usually. It offered a refreshing change from the cloak-and-daggers politicking of her usual task – or at least a surface contrast, she mused.

It was a short and to-the-point speech. Halm had suggested it be so – and she had had considerably more opportunity to ingratiate herself with the Chapter serfs than the Inquisitor herself. No room for poetry here, the Inquisitor thought to herself, as she began her oration.

"You stand ready to take your place as castellans of the Emperor's domain. This outpost is distant from his light, and all the more vulnerable for it. Here at the edge of the galaxy, you will serve. Each of you is a lantern; a magnifying mirror to that light. You will bring the Emperor's hand to these benighted worlds, extended in friendship to those that seek his protection, and closed in a fist to those who would despoil or seek to desecrate his worlds. You will, perhaps, be alone in these duties." She paused, weighing the next words carefully. The assembled crowd stood, dutifully, impassively; still as statues. Licking her lip, unaccountably dry, she continued, "And perhaps you will not. We are at anchor around a planet tentatively identified as the lost world of Quercus Brant; a short translation from the rumoured location of system Androcrine. Once Quercus Brant is brought back within the fold, we will move on to Andocrine. There we will discover the fate of your forebears; there we will find answers."

Another pause. Not a single marine moved. Kills was no psychic, but a prickle down her spine told her that this was an entirely different order of silence. They had been attentive before, but the mention of the Chapter's gene-kin – and the possibility of finding their own history – had charged the atmosphere.

"I recognise that this is a strange form of homecoming. A return to a hold in which you have never set foot; and which must seem nebulous. You must be prepared to find ruins. You must be prepared to reclaim and refortify the fortress-monastery; to take arms against the strange and novel xenoforms of the region. You must guard against false hope, for such is the first step on the road to disappointment. And yet." A third pause, "And yet, I wish you well – both in your campaign upon Quercus Brant, and in our shared travails to Androcrine. Whether we find your kin or not, you have duties to perform. An Imperium to extend. An Emperor to serve. You have a history of your own to write."

The close of the speech was met with a final silence. And then, a great roar; a roar from a thousand throats:
'Our Presence Remakes the Past!'


+ Progress +

+ The varnish is dry on the first sets of arms, so I finally have sufficient bits to assemble a Primaris member of the Gatebreakers. He is a little further down the line timewise from the story above, but still in 'proper' Tacticus armour. +

+ He needs highlighting, basing and still needs details like the gun and chapter badge to be painted, but I'm really pleased with how they're looking. It's not at all clear here, but the chest eagle is painted silver with a purple wash. +

Painting in sub-assemblies has been a fun experiment, and helped to make this batch painting a bit of a novelty. I am glad, however, that I restricted myself to a fairly reasonable number of figures – more than fifteen would have been very complicated! +

+ I'm pleased to report that the oils seem to be behaving themselves. Experimentation always has the potential to go seriously wrong, but – touch wood – it's holding together well so far. +

+ The depth of tone oils allowed me to create, together with the speed at which it could be done, has me firmly on board. I'm looking forward to experimenting further with this technique. +

+ Bloodthirsty headhunting, or sanctified relics? We'll find out soon enough, if Barbari Kills can find where Andocrine is... +

+ Eight pairs of arms – and the accompanying shoulderpads are next up. After that, it's pouches, grenades and similar bells and whistles. You'll spot a couple of beakie helms, too. Not quite sure how they fit with the Marks of armour, but who cares? Beakies are cool. +

+ ...And to finish, a couple of shots of the whole gang. Apologies if these are getting tiresome, but I find it helpful to watch them gradually get more and more developed. +


Ragsta said...

'Our presence remakes the past'... That attitude's going to go down well with their forebears eh! Good writing as always. I'm beginning to think about a small force myself, to honour all the aborted projects from my youth :P

apologist said...

I'd love to see it – always nice to see what my meagre daubings and scribblings inspire :)